Tag Archives: film

I ask of cinema what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs

Above is the trailer to  Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first film in 23 years

The Dance of Reality (2013) is an autobiographical film by Alejandro Jodorowsky (born 1929).

Other films of 2013 I have enjoyed:

Coke? The perfect commodity.

Coke? The perfect commodity. Why?

In The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology documentary Slavoj Žižek explains.

The documentary is now online in full. (update: the documentary was taken offline a few days after I had posted it.)

Slavoj Žižek is unique in using films to prove philosophical points, see film and philosophy.

The full text of the The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is here[1].

 

Michel Houellebecq in ‘Near Death Experience’

Near Death Experience is a 2014 French film directed, produced and written by Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern coming to local screens from September onwards.

The film stars French writer Michel Houellebecq as Paul, a burn-out man who escapes to the mountains on his racing bike with the plan to commit suicide.

Some of Houellebecq’s work has already been filmed.

Several years ago I saw the decidedly philosophical film Extension du domaine de la lutte (also known as Whatever) which is now on YouTube in its entirety.

The “our hero” of Whatever reminds me of Paul.

Houellebecq’s debut as protagonist has been acclaimed.

He is part of my canon.

A milestone in the history of subversion

Discovering Amos Vogel‘s Film as a Subversive Art (1974) was a blast and leafing through the book today still is a thrill (see for example a still I posted on my new NSFW tumblr blog). The book is a milestone in the history of subversion.

Now online is Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 (UK, 2003) , a documentary about Amos Vogel (1921 – 2012) and the film society Cinema 16.

World music classic #882

Smokestack Lightning” (1956) by Howlin’ Wolf (1910 – 1976) is ‘world music classic‘ #882.

“Smokestack Lightning”  is on the soundtrack to The Wolf of Wall Street, a boring film about boring people who think they are interesting because they are high.

It’s astonishing how cocaine has shaped the history of the West since the 1970s.

The Wolf of Wall Street reminded me of American Psycho.

I liked American Psycho a lot better.

Other 1956 ‘world music classic’ compositions include “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley, “Fever” by Little Willie John and “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia.

World cinema classic #178

closing credits sequence of Dogville

Yesterday, I watched Dogville (2003) on DVD with my daughter, who had to watch it for her final year in high school. Her assignment: searching for Brechtian alienation elements. That wasn’t hard: the whole film is an attack on the suspension of disbelief.

I’d previously seen the von Trier film in the cinema and that time I had missed the importance of the closing credits sequence [above] with images of poverty-stricken Americans taken from Jacob Holdt’s social documentary photography book American Pictures (1977) and accompanied by David Bowie’s song “Young Americans.”

The film is an indictment of the hypocrisy of small town morality. Its most dislikable character is Tom Edison Jr., the wannabe writer, would be philosopher and cowardly lover who abuses Grace’s trust time after time.

Von Trier’s tale reminded me both of Thomas Hardy and the misery of Jude the Obscure and of the festering perversion in the small town of Samuel Fuller’s The Naked Kiss.

The film is a masterpiece. But bleak.

I’ve added it to my film canon: the World Cinema Classics list where it sits next to District 9 and Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde.

No American movie has ever found it “necessary” to show a toilet, let alone to flush it

I viewed the film Hitchcock last night. It features Geoffrey Shurlock as the censor of the Motion Picture Production Code, who says with regards to the production of the film Psycho:

“no American movie has ever found it “necessary” to show a toilet, let alone to flush it.”

Some thoughts:

I never knew that the American censor was involved during pre-production, i.e. before the shooting of the film.

It appears that the introduction of sound film coincides with the drafting of the Production Code. Did sound pose a threat more than imagery? Or was it the combination of sound and image that finally saw film evolving from a mere sideshow attraction to a genuine and ‘real’ mode of fiction consumption?

I remember a scene in Duck Soup where the Marx Brothers poke fun at the Production Code by showing a woman’s bedroom and then showing a woman’s shoes on the floor, a man’s shoes and horseshoes. Harpo is sleeping in the bed with a horse; the woman is in the twin bed next to them.

I remember extensive coverage of PsychoHitchcockianness and toilets in Enjoy Your Symptom! and The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, both by Slavoj Žižek.

Above: “The Murder” by Bernard Herrmann used in the shower scene. “The Murder” is World Music Classic # 811.